Tuesday, December 11, 2007

How long did it take you to make this?

This is a question I get fairly often and it is always hard for me to answer. I read an article in one of the clay mags and it talked about how many times one had to either touch a piece or do prep work for a piece and it was an unbelievable amount of time. I heard Cynthia Bringle anwer that question with "Twenty years." Either way, it seems like you have to get into such a long discussion about all the parts of clay making or how important the years of experience have been in order to create the piece they are asking about. So I thought I would talk about it a bit here, then maybe just print out little slips of paper that had this blog site and title on it and give that out when asked.
This is the prep work for the pieces and all the other chores in order to have pots to offer:
Inventory supplies
Order/pick up clay and glaze supplies
Unload/store clay
Mix dry glaze materials
Sieve and screen wet glaze materials and label buckets
Clean up studio and kiln area and gallery
Create business cards, promo pieces, invoices, etc. on computer
Maintain mailing and database
Pay bills/reconcile finances
Create, print, label, stamp and mail promo pieces
Send out press releases for studio and sales
Look at books and mags for ideas for pots and classes
Create production list of needed pots
Sketch out new ideas to work on
Make pieces on wheel or handbuild
Carve or texture work
Trim/Finish pieces by handling bottoms, handles, parts etc.
Dry pieces
Load kiln for bisque firing
Fire kiln
Unload kiln
Clean/Sand bisque pieces
Sign flat pieces and wax bottoms
Decide how to glaze pieces
Glaze/layer multiple glazes on elaborate pieces
Clean bottoms of work
Load kiln for glaze firing
Fire kiln
Unload kiln
Examine work for flaws
Clean/smooth bottoms
Cane reed handles or add attachments for knobs
Price pieces
Display pieces in gallery or
Box for sale or
Pack to ship
Load van for show
Drive to show
Unload van
Set up booth space or tent
Unpack pots
Display pots
Sell pots
Pack pots
Pack van
Drive home
Unpack van
Unpack pots
Display pots
Put away boxes
Clean up gallery
Enter new names/addresses in database
Decide/enter future shows
Maintain kiln and kiln furniture
Make deposits
Handle sales tax reporting
Make glaze test samples
Teach classes
Answer phone and correspondence
Take out the trash
Start the production cycle again.
I'[m sure I have forgotten things...maybe you can add the one you think of.

And now that I have anwered that question with "A LONG TIME", I have to go to the studio to check my kiln, make a deposit, hand build trays, handles on 16 mugs, 5 brie bakers, 4 pitchers & trim 20 bowls, assemble two teapots and teach a class!

1 comment:

Clay and Fiber Artist said...

Hi, Vicki,

That question has puzzled me too. I wonder, "Are they trying to figure out time divided by cost = hourly wage? Would it cost less if I could make more per hour? etc."

I've concluded that they really don't want to know....they just don't know how to begin a dialog with someone who makes things. Depending on the person, I've sometimes asked them why they asked the question. And that will open the conversation so that you can communicate with them. Sometimes I go into detail about the techniques or the skills or the time you need to work in order to make a piece like that. And I always, always hand it to them to hold while talking.

The short answer is, you don't have to answer that question.....start a conversation. Sales usually follow.